12:30 GMT20 October 2020
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    A new modern slavery report published by Britain's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) reveals an increase in the number of cases of men being trafficked to the UK and into forced labor as the number of people charged, with slavery offenses reaching a record number.

    Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions cites "a particularly challenging case" in which people from Slovakia and the Czech Republic were kept in cellars or in crowded rooms" many of whom had mental health problems and learning disabilities. Seven people were sent to jail for a total of 40 years.

    "They were controlled by threats of violence and intimidation, were provided with only small amounts of food and told they needed to pay back the money they owed for transport and housing," Alison Saunders said in a statement.

    Overall, there's been a 27 percent rise in the number of people charged with modern slavery and human trafficking offenses since last year, according to new figures published in Britain's Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Modern Slavery Report, 2017-18. The CPS says 239 suspects have been charged with trafficking offenses in the last year. However, only 185 people were found guilty in the same period, a drop from 192 in 2016.

    READ MORE: 'Reckless' People Traffickers Face Jail After Albanians Nearly Sank in Channel

    Meanwhile, anti-trafficking campaigners have told Thomson Reuters Foundation there's been a stall in convictions since the Modern Slavery Act was passed in 2015.

    Despite the rise in suspects being charged with modern slavery offenses, up by 27 percent, the number of convictions has not increased significantly. Only 185 people were found guilty in the same period, a drop from 192 in 2016.

    "We have yet to see any significant increase in the rate of convictions of those who traffick and enslave people," Kate Roberts, head of the Human Trafficking Foundation told Thomson Reuters Foundation.

    "This underlines the importance of empowering and supporting victims to speak out and come forward to the authorities," says Kate Roberts.

    It takes on average three years to prosecute modern slavery crimes — which is double the amount of time it took in 2015, the new CPS report says, which "reflects the challenges… greater complexities, multiple defendants and multiple victims."

    READ MORE: 'If There Are Gangs. There's Sexual Exploitation' — Ex Gang Member Tells Sputnik

    Victims are often too scared to speak out, or unaware they are being controlled and treated like a modern slave; the average number of victims and witnesses gave support to provide evidence in court in modern slavery cases is slowly increasing from an average of three in 2011 to almost 8 in 2017-18.

    READ MORE: 'Tragic Scale' of Modern Slavery in Britain Revealed in 'Landmark' Report


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    forced labor, exploitation, modern slavery, human trafficking, Great Britain, United Kingdom
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